"How do I get the attention of a label or a manager?" This is the question I got asked most often last week while I was a panelist and mentor at the ASCAP Expo.
While so much has changed in the music industry over the past decade, so much remains the same.
It all starts and ends with the music.
Without powerful, authentic and resonant songs produced the right way, everything else is secondary.
First, you work relentlessly on your craft as a singer and as a songwriter.
Once you've reached a point where you have the skills necessary to be in a room with an experienced songwriter, seek co-writing collaborations.
Finding the right collaborators is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make throughout your career.
See how people react to your music.
Then write some more.
Throughout this process, you'll be finding yourself, your voice.
While working on your craft, you should also be figuring out ways to build an audience of true followers.
Labels, established producers and managers can come in at any point throughout the process, but your plan shouldn't be to count on a label or a manager to build you, to make you or to solve all of your problems.
No matter what, your growth, your career and your success will always be your responsibility - you have to put in the work.
Your goal is to become as great as you can possibly be, building yourself and your fan base to the point where managers and labels come to you.
And when they do, the real work begins.
The music business is a world of angels, demons and everything in between...the ability to know the difference is everything.
You must figure out if this person shares your values, is trustworthy, sees things in you that you don't yet see in yourself, adds tremendous value to your career and if you see yourself being in business with this person for the long haul.
Choosing your creative collaborators, your manager and your label will be the most important decisions you'll ever make in your career.
When your time comes, be ready.